How to watch the sudden Liulianyin

发表于 2023-09-23 03:18:23 来源:Return to basics and return to true nature

ruined homesteads rose from the fair plains of British Kaffraria, and by night the lurid signals of the hostile barbarians flamed forth from many a lofty peak.In the Transkei matters were rather worse than before the previous three months of campaigning. Very far from crushed, the Gcalékas swarmed back into their oft-swept country, and with the aid of their new allies set to work with redoubled ardour to make things as lively for the white man as they possibly could. This kept nearly all the forces then at the front actively employed in that direction, leaving the field open to the residue of the Gaikas and Hlambis to burn and pillage throughout British Kaffraria at their own sweet will. The destruction of property was great and widespread.Still, on the whole, men seemed rather to enjoy the prevailing state of things than otherwise, even those who were severe losers, strange to say. The colonial mind, adventurous at bottom, dearly loves excitement, once it has drunk at that enchanted fountain. Perhaps one of the best illustrations of this is to be found in the numbers who remained, and do remain, on at Johannesburg after the collapse, in a state of semi-starvation—rather than exchange the liveliness and stir of that restless and mushroom town for the surer but more sober conditions of life offered by the scenes of their birth. In British Kaffraria, the renewed outbreak of hostilities afforded plenty of excitement, which went as a set-off against the aforesaid losses—for the time being at any rate. Those who had already taken part in the first campaign either volunteered for the second or stayed at home and talked about both. Though whether he had been out or not made no difference as regarded the talking part of it, for every man jack you might meet in a day’s wandering was open to give you his opinion upon what had been done, and what hadn’t been done; above all upon what should have been done; in a word, felt himself entirely competent to direct the whole of the field operations there and then, and without even the traditional minute’s notice.But however enjoyable all this may have been to society at large, as there represented, there was one to whom it was intolerably irksome, and that one was Eustace Milne. The reasons for this were diverse. In the first place, in the then crowded state of the community, he could hardly ever

to any such trivial sights and sounds. His mind was fully occupied.No sleep had fallen to Eustace’s lot that night. Late as it was when they retired to rest, fatiguing and exciting as the events of the day had been, there was no sleep for him. Carhayes, exasperated by the wrongs and rough treatment he had received at the hands of his barbarous neighbours, had withdrawn in a humour that was truly fearful, exacting unceasing attention from his wife and rudely repulsing his cousin’s offer to take Eanswyth’s place, in order that the latter might take some much-needed rest. A proceeding which lashed Eustace into a white heat of silent fury, and in his own mind it is to be feared he defined the other as a selfish, inconsiderate, and utterly irredeemable brute. Which, after all, is mere human nature. It is always the other fellow who is rather worse than a fiend. Were we in his shoes we should be something a little higher than an angel. That of course.Unable to endure the feverish heat of restlessness that was upon him, with the first glimmer of dawn Eustace arose. One of his horses had been kept up in the stable, and having saddled the animal he issued forth. But the horse was a badly broken, vicious brute, and like the human heart was deceitful and desperately wicked, and when to the inherent villainy of his corrupt nature was superadded the tangible grievance of having to exchange a comfortable stable for the fresh, not to say raw, atmosphere of early dawn, he resolved to make himself as disagreeable as possible. He began by trying all he knew to buck the saddle off—but fruitlessly. He might, however, be more successful with the rider. So almost before the latter had deftly swung himself into his seat, down again went the perverse brute’s head, and up went his back. Plunging, rearing, kicking, squealing, the animal managed to waste five minutes and a great deal of superfluous energy, and to incur some roughish treatment into the bargain, for his rider was as firm in the saddle as a bullet in a cartridge, and moreover owned a stout crop and a pair of sharp spurs, and withal was little inclined to stand any nonsense that morning from man or beast.But the tussle did Eustace good, in that it acted with bracing effect upon his nerves, and having reduced the refractory steed to order, he headed for the open veldt, not much caring where he went as long as hewas moving. And now as the sun rose, flooding the air with a mellow warmth, a great elation came upon him. He still seemed to feel the pressure of those lips to his, the instinctive clinging to him in the hour of fear. He had yielded to the weird enchantment of the moment, when they two were alone in the hush of the soft, sensuous night—alone almost in the very world itself. His better judgment had failed him at the critical time —and for once his better judgment had been at fault all along—for once passion was truer than judgment. She had returned his kiss.Then had come that horribly inopportune interruption. But was it inopportune? Thinking things over now he was inclined to decide that it was not. On the contrary, the ice must be broken gently at first, and this is just the result which that interruption had brought about. Again, the rough and bitter words which had followed upon it could only, to one of Eanswyth’s temperament, throw out in more vivid contrast the nectar sweetness of that cup of which she had just tasted. He had not seen her since, but he soon would. He would play his cards with a master hand. By no bungling would he risk the game.It was characteristic of the man that he could thus reason—could thus scheme and plot—that side by side with the strong whirl of his passion, he could calculate chances, map out a plan. And there was nothing sordid or gross in his thoughts of her. His love for Eanswyth was pure, even noble—elevating, perfect—but for the fact that she was bound by an indissoluble tie to another man.Ah, but—there lay the gulf; there rose the great and invincible barrier. Yet, why invincible?The serpent was abroad in Eden that morning. With the most sweet recollection of but a few hours back fresh in his heart, there rested within Eustace’s mind a perfect glow of radiant peace. Many a word, many a tone, hardly understood at the time, came back to him now with startling clearness. For a year they had dwelt beneath the same roof, for nearly that period, for quite that period, as he was forced to own to himself, he had striven hard to conquer the hopeless, the unlawful love, which he plainly foresaw would sooner or later grow too strong for him. But now it had overwhelmed him, and—she had returned it. The scales had fallen

How to watch the sudden Liulianyin

from his eyes at last—from both their eyes. What a very paradise was opening out its golden glories before them. Ah, but—the barrier between them—and that barrier the life of another!Yet what is held upon more desperately frail tenure than a life? What is more easily snapped than the cord of a life? It might have been done during the past night. By no more than a hair’s-breadth had Carhayes escaped. The savages might on the next occasion strike more true. Yes, assuredly, the serpent was abroad in that Eden now—his trail a trail of blood. There was something of the murderer in Eustace Milne at that moment.Mechanically still he rode on. He was skirting a high rounded spur. Rising from a bushy valley not many miles in front were several threads of blue smoke, and the faint sound of voices, with now and then the yelp of a dog, was borne upon the silent morning air. He had travelled some distance and now not far in front lay the outlying kraals of Nteya’s location.A set, ruthless look came over his fine face. Here were tools enough ready to his hand. Not a man among those clans of fierce and truculent barbarians but hated his cousin with a hatred begotten of years of friction. On the other hand he himself was on the best of terms with them and their rulers. A little finessing—a lavish reward, and—well, so far he shrank from deliberate and cold-blooded murder. And as though to cast off temptation before it should become too strong for him, he wrenched round his horse with a sudden jerk and rode down into a wild and bushy kloof which ran round the spur of the hill.“Never mind!” he exclaimed half aloud. “Never mind! We shall have a big war on our hands directly. Hurrah for war, and its glorious chances!— Pincher, you fool, what the deuce is the matter with you?”For the horse had suddenly stopped short. With his ears cocked forward he stood, snorting violently, trembling and backing. Then with a frantic plunge he endeavoured to turn and bolt. But his master’s hand and his master’s will were strong enough to defeat this effort. At the same time his master’s eye became alive to the cause of alarm.Issuing from the shade of the mimosa trees, seeming to rise out of the tangle of long, coarse herbage, were a number of red, sinuous forms. The ochre-smeared bodies, the gleaming assegai blades, the brawny, muscular limbs still bedecked with the barbarous and fantastic adornments of the night’s martial orgy, the savage and threatening aspect of the grim, scowling countenances looked formidable enough, not merely to scare the horse, but to strike dismay into the heart of the rider, remembering the critical state of the times.“Stop!” cried one of the Kafirs peremptorily. “Come no farther, white man!”With a rapid movement two of them advanced as if to seize his bridle.“Stop yourselves!” cried Eustace decisively, covering the pair with a revolver.So determined was his mien, and withal so cool and commanding, that the savages paused irresolute. A quick ejaculation rose from the whole party. There was a flash and a glitter. A score of assegais were poised ready for a fling. Assailants and assailed were barely a dozen yards apart. It was a critical moment for Eustace Milne. His life hung upon a hair.Suddenly every weapon was lowered—in obedience to a word spoken by a tall Kafir who at that moment emerged from the bush. Then Eustace knew the crisis was past. He, too, lowered his weapon.“What does this mean, Ncandúku?” he said, addressing the new arrival. “Why do your people make war upon me? We are not at war.”“Au!” ejaculated several of the Kafirs, bringing their hands to their faces as if to hide the sarcastic grin evoked by this remark. He addressed shrugged his shoulders.“Fear nothing, Ixeshane,” (The Deliberate) he replied, with a half-amused smile. “No harm will be done you. Fear nothing.”The slight emphasis on the “you” did not escape Eustace’s quick ear, coming as it did so close upon his recent train of thought.“Why should I fear?” he said. “I see before me Ncandúku, the brother of Nteya, my friend—both my friends, both chiefs of the House of Gaika. I see before me, I say, Ncandúku, my friend, whom I know. I see before me also a number of men, fully armed, whom I do not know.”“Hau!” exclaimed the whole body of Kafirs, who, bending forwards, had been eagerly taking in every word of this address.“These armed men,” he continued, “have just threatened my life. Yet, I fear nothing. Look!”He raised the revolver, which he now held by the barrel. In a twinkling he threw open the breech and emptied the cartridges into his hand. Another emphatic murmur rose from the Kafirs at this strange move.“Look!” he went on, holding out the empty weapon towards them in one hand, and the half dozen cartridges in the other. “You are more than twenty men—armed. I am but one man—unarmed. Do I fear anything?”Again a hum went round the party—this time of admiration—respect. Eustace had played a bold—a foolhardy stroke. But he knew his men.“Whau, Ixeshane!” exclaimed Ncanduku. “You are a bold man. It is good that I have seen you this morning. Now, if you are going home, nobody will interfere with you.”“I am in no hurry, Ncandúku,” replied Eustace, who, for purposes of his own, chose to ignore this hint. “It is a long while since I have seen you, and many things have happened in that time. We will sit down and hold a little indaba.” (Talk.)So saying, he dismounted, and flinging his bridle over a bush, he walked at least a dozen yards from the horse and deliberately seated himself in the shade, thus completely placing himself in the power of the savages. He was joined by Ncandúku and two or three more. The other

How to watch the sudden Liulianyin

Kafirs sank down into a squatting posture where they were.“First we will smoke,” he said, handing his pouch to the Gaika chief. “Though I fear the contents won’t go very far among all our friends here.”Chapter Ten.A Mutual Warning.It may not here be out of place to offer a word of explanation as to the extraordinarily cordial relations existing between Eustace Milne and his barbarian neighbours. A student of nature all the world over, he had rejoiced in finding ready to his hand so promising a subject as this fine race of savages, dwelling in close proximity to, and indeed in and among, the abodes of the white colonists, and instead of learning to look upon the Kafirs as so many more or less troublesome and indifferent farm servants, actual stock-lifters and potential foemen, he had started by recognising their many good qualities and resolving to make a complete study of the race and its characteristics. And this he had effected, with the thoroughness which marked everything he undertook. A quick linguist, he soon mastered the rather difficult, but melodious and expressive Xosa tongue, in which long and frequent conversations with its speakers had by this time rendered him nearly perfect; a man of keen intellect, he could hold his own in argument with any of these people, who, on subjects within the scope of their acquaintance, are about the shrewdest debaters in the world. His cool deliberation of speech and soundness of judgment commanded their abundant respect, and the friendly and disinterested feeling which he invariably evinced towards them being once understood and appreciated, a very genuine liking sprang up on both sides.Of course all this did not pass unnoticed by his white acquaintances and neighbours—who were wont to look upon him as an eccentricity in consequence, and to chaff him a good deal about his “blanket friends,” or ask him when he expected to be in the Cabinet as Secretary for Native Affairs. A few of the more ill-natured would sneer occasionally, his cousin among the latter. But Eustace Milne could take chaff with perfect equanimity, and as for the approval or disapproval of anybody he regarded it not one whit.Stay—of anybody? Yes—of one.

How to watch the sudden Liulianyin

And that approval he had gained to the full. Eanswyth, watching her cousin during the year that he had been living with them, had felt her regard and respect for him deepen more and more. Many a time had his judgment and tact availed to settle matters of serious difficulty and, of late, actual peril, brought about by the hot-headed imperiousness of her husband in his dealings with the natives. Living a year beneath the same roof with anybody in ordinary work-a-day intercourse affords the best possible opportunity of studying the character of that person. Eanswyth, we say, had so studied the character of her husband’s cousin and had pronounced it well-nigh flawless. But of this more elsewhere.“Who are those people, Ncanduku?” said Eustace, after a few preliminary puffs in silence. “Except yourself and Sikuni here, they are all strangers to me. I do not seem to know one of their faces.”The chief shrugged his shoulders, emitting a thick puff of smoke from his bearded lips.“They are strangers,” he answered. “They are Ama-Gcaléka, and are returning to their own country across the Kei. They have been visiting some of their friends at Nteya’s kraal.”“But why are they all so heavily armed? We are not at war.”“Whau, Ixeshane! You know there is trouble just now with the Amafengu (Fingoes). These men might be molested on their way back to their own country. They are afraid, so they go armed.”“Who are they afraid of? Not the Amafengu, their dogs? Why should they go armed and travel in such strength?”The chief fixed his glance upon his interlocutor’s face, and there was a merry twinkle in his eye as he turned away again.“A man is not afraid of one dog, Ixeshane, nor yet of two,” he replied. “But if a hundred set upon him, he must kill them or be killed himself.”Eustace uttered a murmur of assent. Then after a pause he said:

“To travel in a strong party like that in these times is not wise. What if these Gcalékas were to fall in with a Police patrol—would there not surely be a fight? That might bring on a war. I am a peaceable man. Everybody is not. What if they had met a less peaceable man than myself, and threatened him as they did me? There would have been a fight and the white man might have been killed—for what can one man do against twenty?”“He need not have been killed—only frightened,” struck in the other Kafir, Sikuni.“Some men are easier killed than frightened,” rejoined Eustace. “Last night some people from Nteya’s kraal attacked my brother, (The term ‘brother’ is often colloquially used among Kafirs to designate other degrees of relationship) stole his gun, and tried to kill him. But they did not frighten him.”In spite of the conventional exclamation of astonishment which arose from his hearers, Eustace was perfectly well aware that this was no news to them.“That is bad news,” said Ncandúku, with well-feigned concern. “But it may not have been done by any of our people, Ixeshane. There may have been some Fingo dogs wandering about the land, who have done this thing in order that the English may blame us for it.”It was now Eustace’s turn to smile.“Does a dog wander to the mouth of a den of lions?” he said, keenly enjoying the notion of turning the tables. “Will a few Fingoes attack a guest of Nteya’s within the very light of the fires of the Gaika location?”“Your brother, Umlilwane, is too hot-headed,” answered the chief, forced to shift his ground. “Yet he is not a young man. Our young men, too, are hot-headed at times and escape from under the controlling eye of the chiefs. But Nteya will surely punish those who have done this thing.”confident in the strength of his overwhelming numbers, waxed bolder— crowding in closer and closer. Every bush was alive with Kafir warriors, who kept starting up when and where least expected in a manner that would have been highly disconcerting to any but cool and determined men.But this is just what these were. All hope of saving the spoil had been abandoned. The frontiersmen, dismounted now, were fighting the savages in their own way, from bush to bush.“This is getting rather too hot,” muttered Shelton, with an ominous shake of the head. “We shall be hemmed in directly. Our best chance would be for someone to break through and ride to the camp for help.” Yet he hesitated to despatch anyone upon so dangerous a service.Just then several assegais came whizzing in among them. Two horses were transfixed, and Hoste received a slight wound in the leg.“Damn!” he cried furiously, stamping with pain, while a roar of laughter went up from his fellows, “Let me catch a squint at John Kafir’s sooty mug! Ah!”His piece flew to his shoulder—then it cracked. He had just glimpsed a woolly head, decked with a strip of jackal’s skin, peering from behind a bush not twenty yards away, and whose owner, doubtless, attracted by the laughter of those devil-may-care whites, had put it forward to see what the fun was about. A kicking, struggling sound, mingled with stifled groans, seemed to show that the shot had been effective.“Downed him! Hooray!” yelled Hoste, still squirming under the smart of the assegai prick in his calf. “Charge of loepers that time—must have knocked daylight through him!”Taking advantage of this diversion, a tall, gaunt Kafir, rising noiselessly amid a mass of tangled creepers, was deliberately aiming at somebody. So silent had been his movements, so occupied were the other whites, that he was entirely unperceived. His eye went down to the breech. He seemed to require a long and careful aim.

But just then he was perceived by one, and instinctively Eustace brought his piece to bear. But he did not fire. For like a flash he noted that the savage was aiming full at Carhayes’ back.The latter, sublimely unconscious of his deadly peril, was keenly alert on the look out for an enemy in the other direction. Eustace felt his heart going like a hammer, and he turned white and cold. There in the wild bush, surrounded by ruthless enemies, the sweet face of Eanswyth passed before him, amid the smoke of powder and the crash of volleys. She was his now—his at last. The life which had stood between them now stood no more.With a frightful fascination, he crouched motionless. Carhayes was still unconscious of his imminent peril—his broad back turned full to the deadly tube of the savage. The distance was barely fifteen yards. The latter could not miss.It all passed like lightning—the awful, the scathing temptation. He could not do it. And with the thought, his finger pressed ever so lightly on the trigger, and the Kafir crashed heavily backward, shot through the brain—while the ball from his gun, which, with a supreme effort he had discharged in his death throes, hummed perilously near his intended victim’s head.“Hallo, Milne! You got in that shot just right,” cried one of the men, who had turned in time to take in the situation—not the whole of it, luckily.Eustace said nothing. His better nature had triumphed. Still, as he slipped a fresh cartridge into his smoking piece, there was a feeling of desolation upon him, as though the intoxicating sense of possessing the whole world had been within his grasp, and as suddenly reft from it again. The extremely critical position in which he—in which the whole party— stood, passed unheeded. “Fool!” whispered the tempting, gibing fiend. “You had your opportunity and you threw it away. You will never have it again. She is lost to you forever now. Never can you hope to possess her!”And now the firing opened from an unexpected quarter—and behold,the bushy slope in front was alive with Kafir warriors. The patrol was entirely surrounded, and now the savages began to shout exultantly to each other.“We have got the white men in a hole,” they cried. “Ha! They cannot get out. Look, the sun is shining very bright, but it will be dark for the white men long before it touches the hill. They are caught like wolves in a trap. Hau!”“Ho-ho! Are they!” sung out Carhayes, in reply to this taunt. “When a wolf is caught in a trap, the dogs cannot kill him without feeling his teeth. The Amaxosa dogs have caught not a wolf, but a lion. Here is one of his bites.” And quick as lightning he brought up his rifle and picked off a tall Gcaléka, who was flitting from one bush to another a couple of hundred yards above. The Kafir lurched heavily forward, convulsively clutching the earth with both hands. A yell of rage arose from the savages and a perfect hail of bullets and assegais came whistling around the whites— fortunately still overhead.“Aha!” roared Carhayes with a shout of reckless laughter. “Now does any other dog want to feel the lion’s bite? Ha, ha! I am he whom the people call Umlilwane. ‘The Little Fire’ can burn. He it was who helped to burn the kraal of Sarili, the Great Chief of the House of Gcaléka. He it is who has ‘burned’ the life out of many dogs of the race of Xosa. He will burn out the lives of many more! Ha, ha—dogs—black scum! Come forth! Try who can stand before The Little Fire and not be burned up—utterly consumed away! Come forth, dogs, come forth!”Catching their comrade’s dare-devil spirit, the men laughed and cheered wildly. But the Kafirs, full of hate and rage, forgot their prudence. A great mass of them leaped from their cover, and shrilling their wild war-whistles, snapped their assegais off short, and bore down upon the handful of whites in full impetuous charge.Critical as the moment was, the latter were prepared never more dangerously cool than now when it was almost a case of selling their lives dearly. They instantly gave way, melting into cover with the serpent-like celerity of the savages themselves, and before these could so much

as swerve, they poured such a deadly cross-fire upon the compact onrushing mass that in a second the ground was strewn with a groaning, writhing heap of humanity.With a roar like a wild beast, Carhayes sprang from his cover and, wrenching a heavy knob-kerrie from the hand of a dead Kafir, dashed among the fallen and struggling foe, striking to right and left, braining all those who showed the slightest sign of resistance or even of life. A Berserk ferocity seemed to have seized the man. His hair and beard fairly bristled, his eyes glared, as he stood erect, whirling the heavy club, spattered and shiny with blood and brains. He roared again:“Ho, dogs! Come and stand before the lion! Come, feel his bite—who dares? Ha, ha!” he laughed, bringing the kerrie down with a sickening crash upon the head of a prostrate warrior whom he had detected in the act of making a last desperate stab at him with an assegai—shattering the skull to atoms. “Come, stand before me, cowards. Come, and be ground to atoms.”But to this challenge no answer was returned. There was a strange silence among the enemy. What did it portend? That he was about to throw up the game and withdraw? No such luck. His strength was too great, and he was burning with vengeful rage at the loss of so many men. It could only mean that he was planning some new and desperate move.“I say, Milne, lend us a few cartridges; I’ve shot away all mine.”Eustace, without a word, handed half a dozen to the speaker. The latter, a fine young fellow of twenty-one, was enjoying his first experience in the noble game of war. He had been blazing away throughout the day as though conscious of the presence of a waggon-load of ammunition in the patrol.“Thanks awfully—Ah-h!”The last ejaculation escaped him in a kind of shuddering sigh. His features grew livid, and the cartridges which he had just grasped dropped from his grasp as he sank to the ground with scarcely a struggle. A Kafirhad crawled up behind him, and had stabbed him between the shoulders with a broad-bladed assegai—right through to the heart. A deep vengeful curse went up from his comrades, and they looked wildly around for an object on which to exact retribution. In vain. The wily foe was not going to show himself.But the incident threw a new light upon the state of affairs, and a very lurid one it was. Several had run out of ammunition, but had refrained from saying so lest the fact, becoming known, should discourage the others. Now it was of no use disguising matters further. There were barely fifty rounds left among the whole patrol—that is to say, something less than a round and a half per man. And they were still hemmed in by hundreds of the enemy, closely hemmed in, too, as the recent fatality proved, and it still wanted a good many hours till dark. Small wonder that a very gloomy expression rested upon almost every countenance. The position was almost as bad as it could possibly be.Chapter Twenty.The Tables Turned Again.Suddenly a tremendous volley crashed forth from the hillside on their left front, followed immediately by another on the right. For a moment the men looked at each other in silence, and the expression of gloomy determination hitherto depicted on their countenances gave way to one of animated and half-incredulous relief.For no sound of hostile volley was that. No. Help was at hand. Already they could see the Kafirs gliding from bush to bush in groups, hastening to make good their retreat, thoroughly disconcerted by this new and disastrous surprise.“Whoop!—Hooray! Yoicks forward!” shouted the beleaguered combatants, each man giving his particular form of cheer, varying from savage war-cry to view halloo. They were wild with excitement, not only by reason of their unlooked for deliverance from almost certain massacre, but also on account of being in a position to turn the tables


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